As you may have heard, football is finally back. What does that mean? It’s fantasy football season. While fantasy football is always an impossible equation to solve, it’s even harder in week 1. You never know what to expect in the season’s opening week. The guy you decided to pass on in the 5th round could come out and torch you, leading you to re-think your draft strategy. Your 1st round stud fails to produce as he gives you less than 5 fantasy points. Don’t overreact though, it’s just one game.
While every Sunday seems to be a roller coaster as a fantasy football owner, the week can prove to be even more stressful between waiver wire pickups, setting your lineup, among other reasons. Tied in with all this madness is the stock market aspect of fantasy football as a player’s stock seems to never stay the same. It’s even on the ascent, or it could be quite the opposite. Take a look below at the top risers and fallers of week 1.
Have any of your own? Mention them in the comments below!
QB Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
After a solid rookie season, the expectations raise even higher for the reigning Offensive Rookie of the year. After an alarming slow start in the 1st quarter against Atlanta, Winston responded in a big way. He torched the Falcons’ secondary on the way to a Tampa Bay victory where he passed for 281 yards and 4 TDs – finishing as a top 5 QB in the opening week.
Winston is a guy I have a lot of trust in (my QB in 16 team league) to take that next step forward during his sophomore campaign while cementing himself as the best up and coming QB in the league. He’ll face a tough test in week 2 against Arizona, but consider Jimmy Garoppolo is coming off a good game, Winston should be just fine. Winston has top 10 QB upside this season.
RB Tevin Coleman (Atlanta Falcons)
Throughout the offseason there was speculation that a healthy Tevin Coleman would significantly bite into Devonta Freeman’s workload, and possibly take over the starting RB role at some point during the season. Coleman sure did a great job of proving that theory right on Sunday.
While Freeman beat him in touches at 15 to 13, respectively, Coleman outscored him in fantasy points by a wide margin at 11 to 4, respectively. Coleman made his presence known in the passing game as he reeled in 5 catches for 95 yards, while adding over 20 yards on the ground as well. If Coleman continues to produce, his role will continue to expand. Definitely worth a slot in your starting lineup.
RB Spencer Ware (Kansas City Chiefs)
With Jamaal Charles out, that opened the door for Spencer Ware – which was the case last season as well. Well, Ware finished week 1 as the 2nd highest scoring RB with 25 points. He rushed for 70 yards and a score, but his main contributions came in the passing game where he caught 7 passes (more than all of last season) for 129 yards and another TD.
Expected to split duties with Charcandrick West until Charles’ return, Ware separated himself by a wide margin and established himself as the clear-cut starter moving forward. In an offense that typically relies on the running game in order to establish a sound passing game, Ware should see a heavy workload in coming weeks. While he may not see another 25 point performance, he’ll remain a steady producer and serve as a reliable RB2.
WR Will Fuller (Houston Texans)
After being drafted in the 1st round, I wasn’t particularly high on Will Fuller for the Texans. He proved me wrong in just his first career game. Not only did he outscore teammate DeAndre Hopkins, he finished as a top 10 WR in week 1 with 5 catches for 107 yards and a score on 11 targets.
Fuller’s big play ability makes him a bit of a hit or miss on a week-to-week basis, but as he proved in week 1, the upside is clearly there. Next week will be a tough matchup against Kansas City so we’ll learn whether or not he can be consistent. Still, he provides upside as a FLEX option.
TE Gary Barnidge (Cleveland Browns)
Of any TE in the NFL last season, Barnidge was the biggest breakout as he exploded for over 1,000 yards with 9 TDs on 79 catches, all career highs by a wide margin as he finished as a top 5 fantasy TE. I wasn’t as high on Barnidge throughout the offseason, however, as I viewed it very hard for him to repeat last year’s numbers.
Despite a 0 catch performance in week 1, Barnidge sees a rise in his fantasy stock as RGIII was placed on the IR. Last season Barnidge and Josh McCown developed a solid rapport which allowed him to become a relevant fantasy start all season long. I’d expect the pair to pick up right where they left off, warranting Barnidge as a viable option as your TE.
QB Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers)
After a subpar fantasy performance in week 1, Rivers’ fantasy value takes an even bigger dip with the torn ACL of Keenan Allen which will keep him out the rest of the season. As if losing Stevie Johnson in the preseason wasn’t bad enough.
You know Mike McCoy and the Chargers will throw the ball plenty from week to week, but the lack of weapons is worrisome for Rivers and the passing attack. Now he’s left with just Travis Benjamin and Antonio Gates as the only reliable weapons through the air. Rivers simply can’t be trusted now with Keenan Allen out the rest of the season, his 13 fantasy points are an indication of that notion.
QB Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo Bills)
One of the most hyped up QBs throughout the offseason was Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor, but I was buying too largely into it. He didn’t have an ideal start to the season to back up the hype as his stat-line included just 111 yards through the air good for 5 fantasy points against a Baltimore defense.
Some may not want to face the fact, but Taylor isn’t going to explode in the box score as they hoped. There was an injury scare there for Sammy Watkins, and while he will play this upcoming Thursday night, he won’t be at 100% – it’s never good for a QB when they lose their #1 weapon in the passing game. It doesn’t get any easier for Taylor in week 2 against the Jets.
RB Devonta Freeman (Atlanta Falcons)
With Tevin Coleman on the rise, of course Devonta Freeman will be a ‘Faller’. After an extremely productive last season where he was consistently among the top RBs each week, Freeman’s role as the feature tailback is not safe in Atlanta, as indicated on Sunday. He was outperformed by Coleman while tallying a miserable 4 fantasy points.
I would look to trade Freeman while he still has value. As the weeks go on I think his value will continue to dip and dip. Wait until a good week to maximize your value. It’s all about selling high/buying low.
RB T.J. Yeldon (Jacksonville Jaguars)
I drafted T.J. Yeldon in a handful of my fantasy leagues – I loved his upside as a mid round pick in a tandem role with Chris Ivory. I woke up to a ‘pleasant’ surprise on Sunday as Ivory was declared inactive, giving Yeldon full starting duties in the backfield. While he scored a TD, he was quite unimpressive otherwise.
Aside from the TD that he clinged to in order to make himself worthy in your starting lineup, Yeldon averaged a porous 1.8 yards per carry on 21 rushing attempts, although he did add 30 yards through the air. If Ivory is unable to play again in week 2, Yeldon still warrants a spot in your FLEX based on his role, otherwise, I wouldn’t trust him until he has a posts a better performance.
WR Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys)
What a disappointment Dez Bryant was in week 1. To put it in perspective how bad he was, he was outscored by guys like Chris Moore, Paul Richardson and Brice Butler, among many others. Bryant hauled in only one catch for 8 yards as he continues to build off last year’s unproductive numbers.
Chances are you spent a 2nd round pick on Dez, but you may have to accept the fact that you whiffed on this one. Last year he proved he can’t be that blue-collar fantasy performer without Tony Romo, and he’ll have to do so for more than half of the season in 2016. He can’t be trusted as a starter, but you can’t sit a player you drafted so high. He’ll look to rebound in week 2 against the Redskins.